AVISO – Por uma questão de ser fiel ao original decidimos manter a entrevista em inglês, no entanto quem quiser ler a versão traduzida a mesma encontra-se neste link.
How did it begin, for you, this connection to Tomb Raider? We know you were a videogame journalist, and that you were always very active in that field, did any of the series game leave a mark in you?
Although I wasn’t a games journalist at the time, I loved the first Tomb Raider. I played a bit of the second game, but never finished it. I wasn’t really a fan of the way Lara used to be marketed back then and I found it rather off-putting, which led me to ultimately move away from the series. However, my first games industry event was actually attending the launch of Tomb Raider III at the Natural History Museum with my dad. He played the Tomb Raider games more than I did!
By having that connection to the game, did it make it easier for you or was it the opposite?
I wouldn’t say it made it easier or harder. I had a basic knowledge of Lara, which was helpful, but having worked on several other AAA female-led games (Mirror’s Edge and Heavenly Sword) was ultimately much more useful.
Writing about videogames and writing a narrative/storyline for a game is not quite the same thing, I assume that the fact you being a player helps to understand were the story should lead, help you to have a framework of some sort…
I’d go so far as to say that writing about games and writing for games is completely different. However, my background as a games journalist did give me the ability to breakdown and study different parts of a game and look at it critically. My experience as a gamer helped me consider the player carefully and what needs they might have and the journey we were taking them on. I’ve definitely seen games from all sides now!
If the surprise factor, the “create” or even the “recreate” Lara was established in the first game of the series. Did this fact made it more difficult for you to create a story/narrative?
I definitely felt like the second game would be harder. It’s like the second movie. It’s hard enough to make a great one, but then you have the weight of expectation turned upon you for your next creative endeavour. The story for the first game was a simple to grasp survival story and had a very defined central arc. For Rise it was more textured in some ways because we dealt a lot with Lara’s psychology, her past and her inner emotional journey..
But maybe it made it even more interesting, you had to define the character in a more psychological point of view and in the more brutal moments of Lara’s family relations.
For a writer, delving into a character’s past, their relationships and how they’ve been shaped is always great fodder. That’s their real narrative guts. It was great to get the opportunity to do that in Rise.
I immortalised one of my father’s memories about the night I was born into one of Richard Croft’s audio diaries
I thought long and hard about making this question, but I cannot help myself… Is there a bit of Rhianna and Sir Terry in this ROTTR? Not only in the deep father/daughter relation but also in the legacy that both Lara and you want to leave behind by creating one.
I immortalised one of my father’s memories about the night I was born into one of Richard Croft’s audio diaries which he sent to Lara when she was young. Dad always said it was one memory he didn’t want to lose, so I decided to immortalise it in the game. Certainly Lara’s desire to be independent, make her own mark and do things her way is very directly taken from my own aspirations.
Going back to Lara Croft, a character that needed more “character” so to speak, to come out as a stronger and more powerful person than in the other series. Do you feel that that represents, in a way, the power that women should have in the videogame industry? As I recall, you also wrote Heavenly Sword and Mirror’s Edge, both stories with strong female characters as well.
It’s interesting how it’s only female characters who are called strong, and not male ones. You don’t see a list of ‘Top 10 strong male characters’ in the way you do with female ones. Male characters are considered strong almost by default, but female ones have to be called out as such. ‘Strong’ tends to be used as a catch-all term when really what we should be looking for and discussing is whether they are textured, interesting, complicated, relatable, compelling etc.
I don’t think any female character (or even several female characters) should ‘represent’ how an entire gender should be portrayed. There is room for all different kinds of female characters (as there are male) and we should strive to represent that diversity. It’s about exploring interesting people, their journeys and their conflicts, and there’s no one right way to do that.
Being a woman with a very strong character, I assume (after your father’s passing) you’re 100% back “in the game” with lots of new projects… Could you give us a sneak peek at any of them?
Losing a parent is something you never get over. You just get through it; little by little, day by day. And that goes for everyone no matter how strong they are perceived to be. I have a few new projects in the works across film, games and comics, but none that I can talk about in any great detail yet. However, I’m having a lot of fun working on the screen adaptation of Wee Free Men, which I started before Dad died. It’s going well and hopefully they’ll be some more official news soon.